U.S. Supreme Court - The FindLaw U.S. Supreme Court Opinion Summaries Blog

October 2011 Archives

The Halloween Top 5: Picks for the Scariest Supreme Court Cases

Supreme Court decisions can lead to more nightmares than a Wes Craven film. Masked mass murderers and razor-gloved villains may be frightening, but bad SCOTUS opinions wreak decades of havoc in the real world.

In honor of Halloween, we're looking back at five Supreme Court decisions that are so bad, they're scary.

Unlikely Pairing: Top 4 Supreme Court Halloween Connections

Halloween is a time for delightful contrasts. Werewolf Bar Mitzvah. Sexy zombies. Champagne and candy corn.

Today, we’re adding the Supreme Court and Halloween to that list with our top four Supreme Court Halloween connections.

Don’t think we can find a connection between SCOTUS and All Hallow’s Eve? Then keep reading to find out if this is a trick or a treat.

Sandra Day O'Connor Brings Cowgirl Justice to Texas

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is sartorially known for popularizing lacey lady cravats with judicial robes, but Texans are more interested in her days in denim.

This week, the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas kicks off a tribute to Justice O’Connor’s early years with “The Cowgirl Who Became a Justice,” a new exhibition timed to honor the 30th anniversary of O’Connor’s appointment to the Supreme Court.

Clarence Thomas, Anita Hill and Sexual Harassment Decisions

The 1991 Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill sexual harassment claims produced sensational headlines and introduced sexual harassment into the national dialogue. The subject has now returned to the spotlight as October marks the 20th anniversary of the hearings.

While Americans became more conscious of sexual harassment claims in the wake of Justice Thomas's confirmation hearings, the first Supreme Court sexual harassment opinion, Meritor v. Vinson, was issued in 1986. In that case, the court found that sexual harassment was sex discrimination.

We're curious: Did Hill's sexual harassment claims against Justice Thomas affect his outlook in Supreme Court sexual harassment cases? Let's take a look at five of the sexual harassment claims to come before The Nine since 1991.

Irony Abounds: Free Speech Rights Curbed on Supreme Court Grounds

The spirit of dissent swept continued to sweep D.C. on Sunday as 19 protesters, including Princeton professor Cornel West, were arrested for demonstrating on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court.

West had attended the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall before joining the Stop the Machine protest in Freedom Plaza. After speaking before the crowd, West led a march to the Court to protest "the Supreme Court giving too much power to the corporations ... and not holding corporations accountable for their behavior," reports Politico.

SCOTUS Considers Free Speech: FCC Indecency, Stolen Valor Act

The Supreme Court will have a busy term with a new round of cases examining the boundaries of free speech rights. On Monday, the Supreme Court granted cert in U.S. v. Alvarez, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case that struck down the Stolen Valor Act.

Congress passed the Stolen Valor Act in 2005. Under the Act, it is a federal crime to lie about receiving military medals or decorations.

Justice Clarence Thomas Celebrates 20 Years on the Bench

This weekend marks the 20th anniversary of Justice Clarence Thomas’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. The jurist has certainly proven his value on the Bench - this year, he became the 14th justice honored with a Greenbag bobblehead - but rarely has a justice who speaks so little been such a lightning rod for criticism.

This year alone, Justice Thomas has been branded “too biased” to hear an individual mandate appeal, too critical of left-leaning law schools, and too secretive about his financial disclosures.

GPS Inventor to Supreme Court: Stop Warrantless GPS Tracking

James Bond received hundreds of gadgets from tech-wizard Q throughout his fictional existence. Whether exploding toothpaste, or a belt-buckle zip line, Bond knew that each invention was created to enable his spy missions.

But what if Bond employed one of Q's inventions for an off-label use? What if Q objected? Should Bond listen?

The Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments in U.S. v. Jones for November 8. The case, an appeal from the D.C. Circuit, raises the question of whether the police need a warrant to install a tracking device to monitor a vehicle's movements on public streets.

SCOTUS Issues Orders, Denies Adar Full Faith and Credit Appeal

The Supreme Court issued orders this morning granting review in two cases, and denied cert in Lambda Legal's appeal in Adar v. Smith.

In 2007, same-sex parents Oren Adar and Mickey Smith, sought an amended birth certificate for their Louisiana-born son. Despite a Louisiana law that provides for amended birth certificates to reflect adoptive parents' names, Louisiana State Registrar Darlene Smith refused the request because the adoption could not have legally occurred in Louisiana. Adar and Smith, who have a legally valid adoption decree from New York, sued to compel the state to amend the birth certificate under the Full Faith and Credit clause.

iHate: Westboro Baptist Church Plans to Protest Steve Jobs Funeral

The Westboro Baptist Church is back to its hateful protests.

In March, the Supreme Court ruled that a deceased soldier's father could not recover tort damages from members of the Westboro Baptist Church for picketing his son's funeral. Now the group has announced plans to picket Apple Founder Steve Jobs' funeral. Proving that religious zealots know not the boundaries of irony, the announcement came via Twitter ... for iPhone.

Death by Returned Letter? Court Hears Maples v. Thomas

Can a death warrant be signed, “Return to Sender?” The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Maple v. Thomas, an Alabama death penalty appeal, on Tuesday to decide whether a procedural default in an inmate’s death penalty appeal can be excused.

The plaintiff, Cory Maples, was convicted of killing two friends in 1997 after a night of drinking. Maples claimed that he was plagued by ineffective counsel at his trial, and on he went to appeal.

2011 Supreme Court Cases: First Monday Kicks Off Critical Year

As a 1L, a cranky professor told us, "First year law students are the only people who find the law interesting. That's why you don't have friends." While his analysis may still hold true, we refuse to apologize for being unabashedly excited about the Supreme Court.

Today is First Monday, that judicial Festivus that lawyers, professors, law students, and judges await all year, and the 2011 Supreme Court cases are giving us plenty to celebrate. Here are our top five current obsessions for the Fall 2011 term: